What the Sony Dash does and doesn’t

Sony Dash Semicolon

Will the battery-powered Sony Dash be known as the Semicolon? Image from Flickr.

Not quite an iPad, not quite a laptop and not quite an alarm clock, the Sony Dash is showing up at the top of a lot of Father’s Day gift lists. The Sony Dash is intended as the most expensive, interactive alarm clock you have ever purchased. The Sony Dash can run apps and connect you to the web – but are all the features worth the price?

The features of Sony Dash

First, the tech specs of the Sony Dash. The device is plug-in only (though Sony says a battery version is coming). There is a seven-inch touch screen, with power and “snooze” buttons along the top. The display is 800 x 480 pixels. The Sony Dash features a 500 MHz processor and 256 MB of RAM. There are built-in stereo speakers and WiFi connections. The operating system of the Dash is Linux, with a Chumby-based interface.

What the Sony Dash does

The Sony Dash is basically intended as a “first glance” alarm clock and media center. It will play YouTube, Pandora, Netflix and other media applications. Depending on the developed applications you download, you can also access Twitter, Facebook and other social networking applications. In order to use any or all of these applications, you will need wireless internet access in your house. Without wireless internet, the Sony Dash is really just a $200 alarm clock.

What the Sony Dash doesn’t

The Sony Dash, though it does a lot, does have limitations. First, the Dash does not have a battery – which means you are stuck next to a power outlet. Second, there is no programming solution for streaming or downloading your own content, you can only stream things off the internet. Third, the Sony Dash does not necessarily log you into all your favorite applications; you may have to go to your Sony Dash account on a computer to do so.

Who the Sony Dash is good for

For a hardcore computer user, the Sony Dash would likely be little more than an expensive toy. For others that only use computers occasionally to look at pictures and watch a TV show, though, the Sony Dash may be a great option. The only major limitation is that without a pre-existing wireless internet connection, the Sony Dash is pretty much useless. The device runs about $200, though even the most basic of wifi connections will be another $50 — unless you can convince your next-door neighbor to be friendly and share.

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